tv U.S. House of Representatives U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN March 7, 2019 7:59pm-8:55pm EST
mr. zeldin: mrs. maloney's words are so inspiring. she said -- the speaker pro tempore: members are reminded to maintain proper decorum in the chamer. mr. zeldin: mrs. maloney inspires us all. when she says that the 9/11 victims, their families are counting on us, they certainly know that they can count on you. so thank you to congresswoman maloney for leading this effort for so many years. you've been a great champion for this cause. it's great to assist you. however -- great to assist you however we can. that's why congressman rose and i want to be here, co-leading a special order on a bipartisan basis to support you, congressman nadler, congressman king, who have been champions of the effort. mrs. maloney: thank you, would the gentleman yield for a second? mr. zeldin: of course. mrs. maloney: thank you, i want
to thank you you and congressman rose and congressman gottheimer for achieving the co-sponsors we have, you joined me in asking chairman nadler to schedule hearings as quickly as possible and we hope to continue getting co-sponsors and hopefully we'll get everyone in this body to make a firm statement in support of the survivors the heroes. thank you so much for all -- what all of you have been doing. thank you. i yield back. mr. mr. zeldin: thank you, ms. maloney. i'd like to yield to my friend from new jersey, he's really a leader in so many different forms. he co-chairs the problem solvers caucus and if i could make a pitch for a bill that should be at the top of the list for every caucus, there are many caucuses here in this chamber. this should be an important priority, if not number one, right toward the list, but i put a pitch in for number one. he's a great member. i have a lot of respect for him. mr. gottheimer: thank you very
much, mr. zeldin. madam speaker, thank you for allowing me to speak on behalf of this important bipartisan legislation. ms. maloney, keep that jacket on so we can remember the importance of our fire fighters who ran into those buildings. that's excellent. and, mr. zeldin, thank you for your leadership. i'm really grateful, and your friend shn. mr. rose, thank you for your leadership as well -- friendship. mr. rose, thank you for upleadership as well. on 9/11, as we all know, our first responders ran directly into danger when others ran out. just like we should always stand by our veterans and active duty, we're here today because we must continue to get the backs of all first responders, and others, who get our backs every day. those especially who stood up to the terrorists that morning and ran into the burning buildings on 9/11, and in the weeks that followed, or in the pile. they are heroes and need our help. hundreds of jersey cops and new york law enforcement and others and firefighters and e.m.t.'s and others from around the
country answered the call of duty and rushed toward the pile. some staying there for weeks. and if you ask how they were able to summon the courage that day, they'll tell you that they were simply doing their job. our nation has an obligation to do everything in our power to take care of our first responders. and survivors of those horrific attacks by terrorists on american soil. but now, too many first responders are suffering from serious illnesses and cancers from exposure to harmful toxins, smoke and debris from the pile. we lost thousands that day and have lost thousands since. because of those effects. in fact, during those first few days, many didn't even wear a mask or the appropriate mask. they were told they would be fine. congress sut insurgent up a vic -- congress set up a victims' compensation fun. -- fund. many of the victims who were exposed back in 2001 are, sadly, first developing symptoms now.
they still are. and they're just starting off allocating resources to cover all those who have suffered. as a result, the special master of the fund recently you a nounced that injured and ill 9/11 first responders and survivors would receive cuts of 50% or 70% of their benefits that they were promised, that fair families could count on -- that their families could count on, that their children could count on. that's absolutely unacceptable. we can't leave law enforcement and first responders with brain tumors and end-stage lung disease by thewayside. it's heartbreaking to hear -- the wayside. it's heartbreaking to hear their stories. i heard so many this week in new jersey when we got together. they talked about how there are hundreds of first responders and volunteers still going through the mount sinai monitoring program, hoping for the best but expecting the worst. it's in the back of the minds of all those who were there that day, when will i be diagnosed? will it be too late? what will happen to my children? and my family?
as of earlier this year, more than 47,000 claims have been filed with the victims' compensation fund and more than 11,000 additional claims are expected by 2020. when the fund is set to expire unless congress acts. we must do the right thing by our first responders. once and for all. no excuses. that's why i'm very proud to be an original co-sponsor of this bipartisan legislation, the never forget the heroes act, to fully fund the september 11 victims' compensation fund. so that no 9/11 survivor has to ever worry. as mr. zeldin said, there's nothing partisan about this. and the bipartisan problem solvers caucus just talked about it this morning. how important it is, including mr. rose. this is a fight where we've had many champions, from jon stewart to congresswoman maloney, to congressman king, and i'm grateful to all of them. representatives nadler and zeldin and rose and fitzpatrick and cheryl and smith, thank you for coming -- sherrill and smith. thank you for coming together on
this bipartisan fight. this was an attack on american soil by terrorists. thank you all, to all the families and to all of our first responders for your incredible service to our great country. i yield back. mr. zeldin: thank you to congressman gottheimer for his words and his leadership, with what is a bipartisan caucus here in the house of representatives, where people from all across the entire country come together and just -- you just want to solve problems. you want to make your time near congress worthwhile. you want to be able to go back to the voters two years later and say, this is what i did during my term, something positive, productive, constructive to show for it. the time you dedicate so much of your energy toward solving problems, building bridges, and bipartisanship, is to be commended. so i thank you for who you are and your efforts here on the floor tonight. mr. gottheimer: you too, sir. thank you very much. mr. zeldin: thank you. at this time i get to introduce
another amazing colleague who was here in the chamber, was a member of congress, during the attacks of september 11, was here in the days afterwards, the years when the act was first getting passed and re-authorized and now this fight for the 9/11 victim compensation fund, and he has been there every single step of the way, since day one. my friend from new jersey, an amazing member of congress and leader, really on the global stage, as i just got back from the usce parliamentary assembly. you're leaving your mark on human trafficking and other issues around the globe. on this important issue tonight i'd like to yield to congressman chris smith of new jersey. mr. smith: thank you very much, mr. zenled. i want to thank you for your leadership. not just tonight, but it's been ongoing and very effective. i would like to thank carolyn maloney for her prime sponsorship of this important legislation. i'm very proud -- never forget
the heroes co-sponsor. along with another very strong group of bipartisan members who will not let this opportunity to enact this legislation pass. we will get this done. madam speaker, everybody remembers where they were and what they were doing. i was actually chairing a veterans' affairs committee hearing when a group of cowards hijacked four airliners in order to perpetrate the worst act of terrorism in american history. nearly 3,000 innocent people lost their lives that day, including 700 from my state. who can forget the courageous first responders running up the stairs of the burning buildings, with total disregard for their own safety, saving others at the expense of their own lives? no one remembers the shock, horror and numbing sorrow of this day, however, more than the families and the close friends of the victims. i have worked with and befriended many family members of 9/11 victims and i can state
unequivocally there would have not been a 9/11 commission and other historic policy initiatives without their extraordinary tenacity, commitment and courage, and that includes what was known as the four jersey girls, widows who simply would not take no for an answer. they were a driving force behind the establishment of that very important historic commission. i got to know a lot of the others. i actually hired a school principal who lost her husband, allen, in 9/11. and i'm reminded every time i'm in the district office and other days as well what she has lost and how painful and sorrowful that was that day. for more than 17 years, the families and the friends of those who died have had to endure their loss and a broken heart. but now we know the carnage, the consequences, the ongoing loss of life and the health crisis attributable to 9/11 are even
worse than anyone could have imagined. new cases of 9/11 cause conditions are being diagnosed by the doctors at the world trade center health program every day, with close to 12,000 cases of 9/11-caused cancer diagnosed so far, including 600 cases of breast cancer, 2,400 with prostate cancer, 600 with thyroid, 500 with lung cancer, 500 with kidney cancer. there's also been other kinds of catastrophic consequences, with people who are suffering from ptsd. some 9,000 so far and counting. congress enacted the world trade health center program fund and victims' compensation fund to provide health services for responders at the three crash sites and others in the vicinity of the w.t.c. site for health conditions related to toxic exposures from the attacks.
there are over 6,800 new jerseyans receiving health care services from the world trade center health program, 1,200 of whom are from my district, constituents of mine. just last month, that was shocking, frankly, the victims' compensation fund special master announced that due to a lack of funding, the justice department will have to cut awards on pending cases by 50% and any new claims that are filed by 70%. these cuts will devastate the first responders, our firemen, police and emergency personnel, they will also represent a gross injustice for survives and their families who spent count -- survivors and their families who spent countless hours and days in search of their loved ones. i remember going to the site when a couple days after, went with tony principal sippy, who was then the -- principi, who was then the secretary of the veterans' affairs committee, and that was falsely conveyed sense that maybe you didn't have to wear the mask.
and so many of those guys and ladies on the ground were breathing in a toxic mix of chemicals that now have manifested in very, very serious disease. this is an important bill, it's bipartisan, and, again, i want to thank you for bringing us all together tonight. my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. and congresswoman maloney for her leadership. and of course all the others who are co-sponsors of this bill. thank you. mr. zeldin: thank you to congressman smith for his words tonight. pointing out that special masters -- special master's report which just came out which stresses the urgency to get this done immediately. that is tough and unacceptable news for all of those victims to read that report and for the advocates. so thank you, chris, for your leadership. congressman smith from new jersey, fighting hard on behalf of his constituents on this issue and for all 9/11 families. so thank you. tonight's special order -- actually, i just asked kevin from my team here to see, it
might be a fun fact as to when was the last time that there was a bipartisan special order, even in the chamber? i don't know. is this even a first? i'm leading tonight's event with congressman max rose of staten island who is our next speaker. and congressman rose is a freshman who is elected to represent a great congressional district in new york. i represent the greatest congressional district in new york, staten island, though, a pretty special place as well. max is a military veteran. and i have a tremendous amount of respect for him for his military service, right after world war ii, almost 100% of the house was made up of military veterans. right after vietnam, it was a little over 75%. i think it was 77% right after vietnam. now the number's less than one in five. so we have to get that number up. republicans, democrats, conservatives, liberals,
anywhere you are in the 50 states, it's good to have more vets here in congress. so thank you for running and for serving and for co-leading tonight's special order, max contacted me as soon as he was elected after the november election to talk about different ways that we can work together and it's great that our bipartisan special order here tonight is for this particular cause, and it's an honor to lead tonight with you. so at this point i'll yield to the freshman, congress -- freshman congressman from staten island, max rose. mr. rose: mr. zeldin, thank you. the honor is all mine. from a veteran to a veteran, from a long island to staten island, i truly respect your service as well to our great country. and applaud you for putting the country first ahead of any other political considerations, as we try to do what's right here. i would also like to of course thank the other original co-sponsors of this bill, people who have fought for this incredibly important project and
initiative for more than a decade. carolyn maloney, jerry nadler and pete king. i want to just start off by telling a story of one of my constituents, rob. rob graduated from the academy on september 10, 2001. his first day on the job with the new york city fire department was 9/11. and when he saw the burning towers from the bridge, he did exactly what first responders across the city and across the country did without hesitation, and that is he raced to the scene. he raced right to danger. and for weeks he joined so many in digging through the rubble looking for survivors. looking for their friends. looking for those who were not as fortunate. dust loaded with cement, lead, glass fibers and other chemicals caked to his face, he knew this would probably kill him. but he served without question because it was the right thing
to do. rob is a young man but he's now in a wheelchair, retired from the fdny before he could even truly begin his career. he's not looking for handsouts, he's looking for respect, for -- handouts, he's looking for respect, for acknowledgment and for his government to do the right damn thing. not just for him and for his family, because he's already covered, but he knows there are thousands of heroic americans just like him across the country who are getting sick but facing drastic cuts to their benefits. just about every member in this body has a constituent like rob. they need action. they deserve nothing less. we need to do more than just say never forget. we need to do more than just shake somebody's hand and say we have a picture of the twin towers in the office or we decide to serve in this body because of 9/11.
we need to make sure these heros are never forgotten and always taken care of. that means making sure that every victim and their families get the benefits and their they deserve. this wasn't an attack on new york, this was an attack on the united states of america. keeping our promise to these heros is not an -- is not a new york problem, it's an american issue we have to address and fix as a country. there are v.c.f. claims from all 50 states and 99% of congressional districts. in a few years we may fage face the fact that more people will have died from 9/11-related diseases than were killed in the attacks. each person who chis is yet another victim of al qaeda's attempt. unless congress votes to fully fund v.c.f., benefits will be cut and promises will be broken. this isn't due to mismanagement or fraud or any other fact that people are getting sick. and i applaud this administration for doing the right thing and effectively
managing this program. i applaud the president for that. but it's unacceptable that we will not adequately fund it. i went stand for it. i'm hopeful we can get this done because we truly have no other choice and with that, i yield back the remainder of my time. thank you again, mr. zeldin. mr. zeldin: all right, go army. heart't realize -- purple too? mr. rose: wrong place, wrong time for that one. mr. zen dill: i thank you for your service in the military, and for your new service here in the house. i had to throw in the go army because we have another speaker here, a navy helicopter pilot if i understand correctly. so we got a couple of army folks in the house. i thank you, max, for your service tour our country going back in years even though you
just started in the house two months ago. mr. rose: absolutely. go army. mr. zeldin: our next speaker had a career before joining congress, he rose up the ranks at the f.b.i., a very well respected member of the f.b.i. who believes in law enforcement, rule of law, also love ours military so much that over the course of the past few years, every sickle year, for christmas we have been able to travel to iraq or afghanistan, going to the middle east to visit the troops as we did this past vm, all over kuwait, on christmas day, and the f.b.i. was impacted greatly on 9/11. they went into the towers as well, while many people were running out. soy thank brian, not only for his service with the f.b.i. but for his continued fight for all those first responders while we -- as we should, remember the
fdny, nypd who went into the towers rp there were many other types of law enforcement who ran in as well, include manage f.b.i. agents. on behalf of all those f.b.i. agents, thank ffers continuing the fight an it's great to have another state represented here, pennsylvania, representative brian fitzpatrick. mr. fitzpatrick: thank you, mr. zeldin. i'd like to thank my colleagues from new york, mr. zeldin, mr. rose, mrs. maloney, mr. nadler, for holding this special order. we must ensure that the victims and their family have the resources and support they are owed. as my colleagues can attest we lost some amazing human beings on that day. firefighters, police officers, medics, e.m.t.'s, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters.
a constituent in our district but the captain and pilot of united airlines flight 175 which our entire country and the entire world witnessed fly into the south tower. while 9/11 shattered many preconceived notions we have had, it strengthened our collective american identity. our nation emerged from that day stronger because of the bravery and selflessness of the heros who risked and in many cases lost their lives to save people they didn't know and had never met. their sacrifices come at a tremendous cost. in over 17 years since that fateful day, nearly 10,000 people have suffered from cancers induced by bringing in toxic dust at ground zero, dust that included thousands of contaminants including lead and including mercury. madam speaker, in just one statistic on how this problem is still prevalent, the national law enforcement officers memorial reported that 15 police
officers died in 2018 from 9/11-related illnesses. 15 just last year alone. this problem is pervasive, and this problem is persistent. it is incumbenten the federal government to stand up and defend those who defended us. the september 11 victim compensation fund must be authorized, and re-authorized immediately. it is a moral obligation of this body. this simply cannot wait. again, into thank the members of the new york delegation for holding this special order, for giving me the opportunity to express my gratitude for the heroes and their families for the need to re-authorize this. i second my colleague's sentiments tonight. that is a moral obligation of this house, we must get this done, get it done immediately, and i want to thank mr. zeldin for representing the problem solvers caucus tonight and recognizing josh gottheimer, i want to say to my colleague, max rose and i will be testing a new rule we put into place, we are going to get to 290 co-sponsors
come hell or high water, which will force that matter on the floor, it will pass overwhelmfully and we'll get this done for the 9/11 victims and their families. i yield back, madam speaker. mr. zeldin: thank you to congressman fitzpatrick for setting his goals with co-sponsorship not just high, but also appropriately, every member of this chamber should be co-sponsoring this bill. so hopefully we'll get those numbers up a lot but much credit to congresswoman maloney, conditioningman nadler, to congressman king for the advocates from outside, especially across the new york city metropolitan area. we are already starting strong with 150 co-sponsors already. the next speaker is a united states naval academy graduate, she was a helicopter pilot, she's a new representative from new jersey's 11th district, and she's hitting the ground running
with important leadership on this issue fighting for her constituents and there's a story to be told to members of congress who maybe weren't here in 2015 oar even five years before that when congressman nadler who we'll be hearing from next was getting the zadroga act first passed. a lot of members were new in 2015 when we were passing -- when perp permanently re-authorizing the zadroga act. and now when you look back at 2015, we have a lot of new members who weren't here in 2015. the education as we talk to people with live far away from where we live in new york and new jersey they may not even know what the zadroga act is, they may not know what the 9/11 victim compensation fund. is that's why it's great to see congressman rose and congresswoman leading the fight. thank you for your service. i kind of apologize for my go
army joke before. i won't mention the three-game winning streak that max and i have going and hopefully that didn't bring you down too much before we hear your great remarks tonight. i yield to the freshman from new jersey 11, congresswoman sheryl. ms. sheryl: thank you to the congressman from new york, as i like to call it the suburbs of new jersey. as my colleagues before me made clear this congress must honor the first responders and survivors of 9/11 and make the september 11 victims' compensation fund permanent. for eight months and 19 days after september 11, police officers, firefighters, first responders, f.b.i. agents and federal officers from across the country came together in new york. in a gesture of national unity that we have not forgotten, they stayed, sometimes far away from
home, to help. ms. sherrill: firefighters like jerry lynch, from the bloomfield firefighters in my district. they were assigned to help in brooklyn. because they were at ground zero looking for their brothers. after being told that they could go home to jersey, he didn't think twice about what he'd do next. he went kun to help on the bucket brigades at ground zero, working with men and women on the line. ms. speaker, we now know that first responders as well as students, residents, workers, and business owners of lower manhattan were exposed to toxic fumes in the aftermath of the attack. what some called a toxic soup of mercury, dust, silica, lead, fiberglass, benzene and many other substances were pulver rised and released into the air. cancer, tims developed
respiratory disease and sleep apnea among many other ail emmitts. those suffering from 9/11-related ailments include mike, a fire fight from new jersey, who walked by hand the firefighters they brought from new jersey into ground zero he worked from 7:00 a.m. through the next morning and by the time he was finished he was so exhausted that a human chain had to carry him off the pile. his feet never hit the ground. mike told me a lot of firefighters, including himself, didn't want to come forward. didn't want to admit they may need help. but luckily for him, his captain made sure that they went forward for monitoring so he started that in 2004. since 9/11, mike has developed breathing problems. sleep apnea. and precancerous cells. he asked me to let people know how hard the firefighters worked for us and that we need to do whatever we can for those who have fallen sick.
mr. speaker, we are here tonight to let mike and all those suffering know that we consider it our responsibility, our duty, get this done. we established the victim compensation fund in 2011 to provide care for mike and all those suffering from health issues after 9/11. there are 8,000 -- there are 8,614 new jerseyans who have registered for the victims compensation fund. nearly 4,000 have submitted claim forms. that's 500 residents in my district alone. and if anyone thinks this is just an -- this is just a new york or new jersey issue, consider that the victims' compensation fund helps americans from 434 out of 435 congressional districts. the fund is running out, mr. speaker. as my colleagues said, benefits are being slashed by 70% and thousands of claims go unpaid. to let the fund go broke or give another temporary extension and force our heroes and their
families to worry about the rug being pulled out from under them is simply unacceptable. it's embarrassing that we would have to fight for this. the people who are ill cannot concentrate solely on getting the treatment they knead or seeing the right doctors. firefighters like mike and jerry are the ones who didn't run away from the crisis but ran right into it. people who displayed this bravery and courage need to be taken care of. they should not be made to feel guilty about asking for help when they have medical issues related to their service. i believe in this country, i believe in our values and as a nation we know when we step up, when we take care of our own, we are helping those people that we owe the most to. we need to give these first responders and survive dwhrorse peace of mind that their sacrifice for this country is recognized and valued by the rest of america. i call upon each and every member of this congress to join us and to make the september 11 victim compensation fund permanent.
thank you, go navy, and i yield ack. mr. zeldin: max and i will get become to you on that one in december. thank you for your remarks tonight and for running for office. i look forward to working with you on this. tonight, certainly needs no introduction, last but certainly not least, someone who has been a rock solid presence, a voice, a leader, a fierce advocate for all 9/11 victims an their family the chairman of the house judiciary committee and someone who is not just one of the -- the main three who have been leading this effort with congressman nadler and conditioningman king but really right back to the very beginning since september 11, 2001, so personally on behalf of my constituents back home, on the east end of long island, for all our 9/11 victims and their
family, thank you to chairman nadler for his leadership. at this time we'd like to hear from the chair of the house jew dish crare committee, in pl nadler. mr. nadler: thank you very much. thank you mr. zeldin and mr. ose for holding this hour to ensure that this every survivor and victim is made whole. we have been pushing for 15 years to address the form obligations we have to those made ill by tox ins on september 11 and the weeks and months after the attack. it is a two-part moral obligation. first, the attacks on september 11 were not just attacks on new york or in washington, d.c. they were atabs on america. the last few weeks we have heard an objection raised to this bill that new york should handle this issue because it's a, quote, new york problem. the world trade center stood in my district, many of the people who ran into those towers were my fellow new yorkers.
the people who fled their homes and offices to find safety were my constituents. but they were americans. those towers fell not because they stood in new york but because they stood in the united states of america. . while it may have been the brave men and women of the new york police department and port authority who first rushed to those towers, to say that the survivors who are sick today are just new yorkers is untrue. there are sick responders and survivors in every state and 434 of the 435 congressional districts. this is not a new york or a d.c. issue, it is a national issue. and devs a national response. the second moral obligation directly ties the victims' compensation fund to the federal government. the reason so many survivors and responders were exposed to the toxins that made them sick was they were told by the federal government, specifically by christine todd wittman, then the administrator of the federal e.p.a., and then by mayor rudy giuliani, that they should --
that the air at ground zero and in lower manhattan was safe to breathe. that they should work for months to clean up the pile, they should go back to work in lower manhattan, that the air was safe to breathe. but it was not safe. it was toxic. in the rush to get wall street up and running, tens of thousands of people mp sent -- were sent directly into harm's way by the federal government. i went to ground zero days after the attack. we knew even then that the air was not safe. that the air was thick with dust and debris. and we had no idea what was swirling in those clouds around us as we struggled to breathe. but the federal government said it was safe. i think of those responders, first on a rescue mission, and i don't begrudge anybody who worked on the pile in the first three days when people may have still been alive and worked without proper respiratory protection to save lives. but after the first three days, it was a recovery mission. and people worked breathing that
air for hours and days without adequate protection. i think of the families sent back to their apartments in lower manhattan and told to wipe away the layers of asbestos from their furniture and windows with a damp cloth. i think of the students sitting in their classrooms blocks from ground zero and the barns removing debris as trucks -- barges removing debris as trucks idled below -- full of asbestos idled below the school windows. the government said we'd care for all those because the federal government told them it was safe when it was not safe. since the day the e.p.a. and others told people it was safe to go back to work, to school and to their homes, since the day the e.p.a. told those responders at ground zero that it was safe to work with minimal protection, i have been fighting alongside my colleagues, mrs. maloney and mr. king, to secure health care and support for the people who became sick because of that exposure. we fought for nearly 10 years to get the first zadroga act passed
in 2010. that bill created the world trade center health program and reopened the victims' compensation fund. but we only authorized the v.c.f. for five years. we knew we needed more than five years and we came back in 2015 and passed the re-authorization bill. that bill made the health program permanent or at least until 2090. which gave much-needed certainty to those suffering from 9/11 illnesses and their families. but again, we authorized the victims' compensation fund, the v.c.f., for just another five years. as those five years have gone on, people have become sicker. more and more responders and survivors have been diagnosed with various cancers. particularly cancers with longly a thanasi periods and trackly more and more have died from those illnesses. as people became sicker, as they become sicker and pass away, the v.c.f. has functioned exactly as congress directed. it has provided those individuals, those first responders, those survivors and
their families with compensation and resources they need to get through these difficult times. but just as people are getting sicker, the v.c.f. is running out of money. last month the justice department announced that because of the high demand for claims, because the cancers are more numerous than anticipated, because more people of the heroes of 9/11 than anticipated are getting sick, the department would be forced to cut awards by 50% if they were filed by february 1 and 70% if they were filed after february 1. can you imagine that. you are dying of stomach cancer, unable to work, unable to leave your house for more thank than your doctor's appointments and waitsing for compensation so you can pay off your house and protect your family before you die. and the award you anticipated is cut in half or by 70%. your wife dies after a long struggle with breast cancer and you're waiting for your claim to pay her funeral expenses and your compensation is cut in half. or by 70%. you have such severe
gastrointestinal issues that you can only work part time. you are waiting for your award to pay for your child's college tuition and your claim is cut by 70%. that's not the promise we made to those first responders and survivors. that's not fulfilling the moral obligation that pushed us to create the v.c.f. in the first place. that's failing lincoln's statement of our duty to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan. that's failing our promise to never forget 9/11 and failing the brave men and women who helped us on that day and who struggle and fight to this day. but that doesn't have to happen. if we pass the never forget the heroes act, we can stop these cuts and make the victims' compensation fund permanent, providing responders and survivors the certainty that no matter how sick they get, they will have the resources they need. they will have us at their backs. and the resources they need. i thank my colleagues who have been with us in this fight from
the start. and i thank the 142 bipartisan co-sponsors who have already signed on to this bill. we will get this done. we must get this done. we will meet our moral obligations. we will never forget these heroes. thank you. and i yield back. mr. zeldin: thank you to chairman nadler for his remarks tonight, for his leadership through the years. it's a very important voice from new york city, from ground zero, something that couldn't have possibly impacted the heart of his district any more than what was the largest attack on our soil on september 11, 2001. yet the silver lining of that attack was seeing the spirit, the fight, the grit of his constituents, of my constituents, of constituents from 433 out of 435 districts in our entire country who responded after september 11, 2001. a lot of members of this chamber don't realize that 9/11 fifert
responders came from almost -- first responders came from almost every single congressional district represented here. but it was all throughout chairman nadler's district on september 11, 2001, that we saw people going into danger while everyone else was running out. and it reminded us of the strength of new yorkers, the pride and strength and courage of americans, and there's certainly been great sacrifice since. but most importantly, sacrifice from those who is been victims because -- who have been victims because of september 11, 2001, either due to the attack that day, or service in our military. as we're here tonight, there are 9/11 first responders who are very sick. and i just wanted to, right before we close, just share one quick story. a constituent of mine from east hampton. this is a single mother, a sole
provider of her 12-year-old son, who lived and worked within blocks of the world trade center on 9/11 and during the aftermath. she said, quote, my colleagues and i saw as our patriotic duty to show the terrorists that we cannot -- that they cannot destroy our neighborhood and way of life. end quote. i think many times people forget in the aftermath of 9/11, we were not only tending to ground zero, but we were rebuilding the spirit of our nation. thanks to americans like this constituent of mine and her co-workers and all those who faced the unconscionable horror, they did not could youer in fear, our nation -- cower in fear, our nation rose stronger than ever. in late 2017 sheft diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer has never occurred on either side of her family. her co-worker at the time of 9/11 developed prostate cancer and three of her co-workers now have an extremely rare skin condition. in response to learning that the fund is running out of money and would cut claims by 70%, she said, quote, i don't think i can
properly express in writing how devastated i feel. even worse, i feel extremely distraught over the others who are in the same situation as me, or who are about to find they are. as they will too receive a devastating diagnosis like mine. the one other story is kevin from smithtown. i represent a district that's just over 50 miles from ground zero. fighting for my constituents who were affected by september 11 is my job. but it's also very personal. kevin is a former nypd officer who said, quote, picked up -- he picked up human remains for two days without any hesitation, because at the time that is what had to be done. he continued to work on and around the pile for close to 12 months. january of 2018, kevin was diagnosed with non-hodgkin's defused large b. cell lymphoma and underwent six months of
chemotherapy which left him devastating symptoms that will stay with him the rest of his life. he wrote to me about how he missed many important moments and family functions with his children and loved ones, he said, quote, to give out awards reduced by 70% is a slap in my face and all others that are now suffering. he's right. when he was working the pile day and night for months on end, he wasn't thinking about himself or what this might mean for his future. he was thinking about our nation, he was committed to getting the remains of victims of 9/11 home to those who survived them. kevin was there for us and it's important for all of us to step up to the plate for him. lastly, i thank congressman maloney -- congresswoman maloney again, congressman king, congressman nadler for taking -- taking the lead on this legislation yet again. i thank congressman rose for co-leading tonight's special order. hopefully it's the start of something new and that we'll see more often, bipartisan special
orders on the floor of the house of representatives. i think our constituents back home all across america want to see more of us working together to get good things done. makes them feel good that their government's working for them. but i'll tell you, with regards to the 9/11 victim compensation fund, it's not until this chamber, the senate and the president signs it that this is done, fully fund, and we're going to be able to take -- that we're going to be able to take credit for anything good or right. because this needs to actually get over the finish line. tonight's just another positive step. everyone signing on as co-sponsors. it's a positive step. and i hope that everyone who is watching, whether you are a member of this chamber, you're a staff or member of this chamber, you're an advocate, that you get involved and co-sponsor, get our numbers up. i thank you, madam speaker, for your leadership tonight with this effort, for presiding over the chamber during this very important hour, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time.
under the speaker's announced policy of january 3, 2019, the chair recognizes the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. grothman, for 30 minutes. mr. grothman: thank you, madam chair. today i'd like to address the status of abortion in america. in the past two months, there have been two stories that show a significant shift, i believe, in america regarding the status of abortion. in new york, one of our original 13 colonies, they recently expanded the right to have abortions up to nine months. and as a practical matter, left it to be ok for a baby born alive not to receive protection. the governor of new york was so proud of this situation that he lit up the world trade center and people applauded in the senate chamber. in virginia, another one of our original 13 states, the governor came out for a bill that also allows nine-month abortions.
the morally berift governor said that if a baby was born alive, that baby would only be resuscitated if the mother wanted. by the way, i want to point out here, there's this myth out there that late-term abortions are only for babies who may not survive. i once heard a speech from a woman who quit a late-term abortion clinic in ohio. she was there only one day. at that time there were six babies delivered, five had no health problems whatsoever, and the other had either spina bifida, i think it was spina bifida, of course many people live productive lives with that disease. only 10 years ago kermit gosnell of philadelphia was convicted of delivering babies alive and killing them after they were born. perhaps hundreds, perhaps thousands. you can read about him in a book by that name, gosnell.
there's a movie out as well. kind of very interesting to see the mindset of the abortion industry. but gosnell was defiant. when they talked to him after he was convicted, as a practical matter, put in prison for life, he said in the end he'd be vindicated. and i think when he said he'd be vindicated, he meant 10 years ago that he felt america would come around to the position that it would be ok to kill a baby born alive. who would dream that less than 10 years later, goes nell would be on the verge of -- gosnell would be on the verge of being proven right, that america would have shifted so much it would be ok to let a born-alive baby be allowed to die. there are a variety of culprits to blame. part of it is the thinly disguised racism of margaret
sanger, founder of planned parenthood. even margaret sanger was opposed to abortion, even among people of that ilk that would have been considered something you could never be for but she did want her organization to be used to reduce people from races she considered inferior, typical of the views of early progressives. we also have people doing it also as a way to hold down the ople they would consider undesirable. justice ginsburg was quoted in the "new york times" that she thought roe was decided in part because of a concern about population growth in populations we don't want too many of. she was subsequently allowed to say that that quote was taken out of context but that was the quote that was listed. they kind of gave her a chance to try to walk that thing back. , chance that wasn't given
later the same point was made by an article in the harvard journal crediting abortion with reduction in crime rates. part of the problem is the usual weight of promiscuous politicians who would be for abortion. people like ted kennedys, bill clintons or bob packwoods of the world. there are a number of men with a vested interest in making sure abortions are always available. part of the problem is the perniciousness of hollywood. the me too movement has opened the eyes to the mindset of the power nfl hollywood. that's perhaps one reason why the popular culture would be largely pro-choice to the extreme or pro-abortion to the extreme. but still why it is in america that we are such an outlier. john adam said that this country, the constitution was put together for morally and -- for moral and religious people.
the pilgrims came from europe to found a more devout country. yet in europe, a much less reals you country than our the norm is no abortions after 12 months. you look around. germany, 12 months. france, 12 months. italy 90 days. portugal 10 weeks. how did america wind up in states like new york saying ok for nine months. you look south of the border, mexico, most of their states don't allow abortion to this day and it's 12 weeks in the area of mexico city. so we have to look further, why did this happen? i had originally felt with the advent of the ultra sound america would become overwhelmingly pro lifism had toured abortion clinic wednesday the ultra sound was a little rare. i could see the language that was used to mislead america as to what was going on. in the abortion industry they don't use the word abortion. they talk about procedures.
they don't use even the word fetus, much less baby. they use the word tissue. but i felt the ultra sound would overcome that language that i thought was one of the reasons abortion was -- abortion was still so common. so who else can we blame? obviously politicians have dropped the ball. obviously we have horrible judges. who can look at the constitution and look at this institution, a document founded for a moral and religious people and claim that when our forefathers put together that constitution, they apparently expected abortion to be legal and abortion being illegal for so nouch country's history. to a certain extent we look at the judges, i think we have to blame the law schools. you know. america, whatever polls you look at, bounce back and forth between 50% pro-abortion, 50% pro life.
i wond for the law schools, a lot of law school faculty what those numbers are, which is maybe one of the reasons why so few judges seem to be able to get the appropriate answer here. but where i'd like to put the attention is where are the churches? you know, it must be difficult to be a minister or priest. you've got to come up with 50 or 52 different topics a year to talk about. and we have a situation going on in this country where we have over a million abortions a year -- we peaked at a million abortions a year, still over 600,000 you look at what's going on in virginia and new york, it seems there's fertile ground for the priest or minister looking for something to see. nevertheless i've take ton spending the last few weeks talking to people at random as to how often in the past year when the priest and -- priests and ministers are looking for 50 different topics to talk about how often they've addressed the abortion issue. it is not unusual, i'd say the
majority of people i talked to who go to a surge, it's not brought up at all. i'll tell you, it would be difficult to come up with 50 different topics a year, but how do you come up with 50 different topics a year, 600,000 abortions in this country every year, not deal with that? but i think a lot of the blame has to lie there. whenever there are great tragedies in human history, i think people expect the clergy to step up and provide moral guidance. i thend speech by saying three things. first i ask the pro life groups not to give up. secondly, i ask politicians to bring forth bills like the born alive abortion survivors act which by the way in itself shows some weakness, we have a relatively weak bill, and that is i guess what our pro life position is today, or the bill we can bring to the floor, kind of sad that we didn't get a
final vote on that montana senate but the bill should be brought up to education america on the state of abortion in america right now. and finally and most importantly, i ask the churches to finally step up. i looked on a calendar. this june there'll be five weekends. so your average priest, your average minister out there is going to have to think of five top exs to talk about. so i would like to ask the people of this country, any clergy who happen to hear this speech, to devote at least one of those five weeks in june to this stain of over 600,000 abortions in this country every year. and ask yourself what is the right or wrong thing to do and if you were one of those clergymen over the last year has not addressed this issue, making your life easier for you, you only have to think of four other things to talk about rather than the five weekends in june, i ask ou to spend one week in june addressing this issue and
encouraging people to finally say, no more to this scourge in the united states. madam speaker, i ask that the house now adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. accordingly the house stands adjourned until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. nadler: mr. speaker, i rise in strong support of h.res. 183. which condemns anti-semitism unambiguously, as well as anti-muslim bigotry and all forms of prejudice against minorities as contrary to fundamental american values and principles. this resolution makes clear that we condemn anti-semitism, islamaphobia and racism, no matter where on the political spectrum they may emanate from. right, left or center. this resolution's a statement of our values as a nation. and while it focuses on concerns raised in the last few weeks regarding anti-semitism and islamaphobia, it addresses those not just forms of bigotry in the context of our broader concern with all forms of bigotry and ha